Thursday, February 08, 2007

#!@%*!! Language

* * * * * * UPDATE: SCROLL TO END OF POST * * * * * *

I've confused at least one regular reader (and absolutely brilliant political blogger), vigilante, about the point(s) I've attempted to make in recent posts. I apologize and I want to clarify the primary purpose of this particular journal.

The subheading at the top of this and every page for the last ten years reads "Journeys Through Cyberspace" and, indeed, that is my vantage point. I am observing and commenting on what is happening in this new medium, this new universe, called the Internet.

To be certain I am a classic liberal. And my personal political, philosophical and moral principles do color all my writings. But I've never intended this to be a political blog like vigilante's excellent blog,
The Vigil.

I'm not trying to impeach the President. And my journal's objective isn't to bring the troops home from Iraq. It certainly isn't to support the agendas of either (or any) political party, politician or personality.

That doesn't mean these aren't all valid issues and certainly doesn't mean I won't comment on all these topics when I feel it is appropriate. I lend my support to many of these objectives every day and in many journal entries.

The key here is that I'll often comment on and/or criticize the actions of people who live, work and build the content of the web. And, perhaps because of my strong principles, I'll even attack someone with whom I actually agree politically.

Such is the case today!

I'm hoping that every single reader is now painfully familiar with the hottest topic in cyberspace, the John Edward's hiring and possible firing of two left wing political bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

Edwards wanted to broaden his ability to appeal to the Internet's powerful liberal community. As Howard Dean proved, appealing to the grassroots of cyberspace can give a candidate an overwhelming advantage.

Marcotte and McEwan are well known bloggers. And, when I dig deep beneath their often crude and vulgar hyperbole and wild rants, I agree with them on 90% of the issues today.

Certainly Amanda Marcotte and I agree 100% on all the issues of women's reproductive rights and privacy. I don't want Christian conservatives or any part of the government in any one's bedroom!

But, take a look at how
Marcotte thoughtfully and eloquently phrased her views (please be aware of the very crude language in the following post):

Rehnquist died. He was no crusader for decency or anything, but nor was he a person whose ideology overruled his decisions. Those days for the Supreme Court are over. BushCo has a new appointment and can also choose the new Chief Justice.

Summary: We are fucked.

Choice is gone. And as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned, states will start outlawing contraception, and eventually the ideologically run court will find that there’s no right to privacy, period, and contraception protection will be gone.

The only thing I can say now is that people who have enough children or don’t want any at all–get sterilized while you still can. As for those who want children, just not now….well, I don’t know. If you use condoms, stock up on EC now. If you use the pill, start exploring Canadian options.

One thing I vow here and now–you motherfuckers who want to ban birth control will never sleep. I will fuck without making children day in and out and you will know it and you won’t be able to stop it. Toss and turn, you mean, jealous motherfuckers. I’m not going to be “punished” with babies. Which makes all your efforts a failure. Some non-procreating women escaped. So give up now. You’ll never catch all of us. Give up now.

First, Marcotte was so factually wrong it makes my head hurt. Rehnquist's death was hardly a nail in the Roe vs. Wade coffin. In fact, Rehnquist was Roe's biggest enemy on the Supreme Court.

More importantly, she clearly fails to understand the dynamics on conservative politics or the principles of the conservative Christian on these issues. She doesn't know her enemy.

But she certainly was colorful in her in her rant! Yet it is that very color that marginalizes her position. Substituting the "F" word for logic, clear thought, facts or reason diminishes her into total obscurity. Only mindless extremists could possibly like or respect her.

Clearly one or more of those mindless extremists are part of John Edward's campaign. And those folks convinced someone in Edward's campaign to hire this idiot without properly researching her previous writings or work.

Now Edwards is faced with the fallout. Marcotte's words are reverberating through all of cyberspace. Edwards is caught in a firestorm that might actually scuttle his candidacy.

a certain portion of the Internet's progressive or liberal community feels somehow they must rally to Marcotte's defense and even go so far as to threaten Edwards if he fails to retain and support Marcotte and McEwan.

And here we have the real tragedy. Marcotte is an idiot. Just because her positions are correct doesn't make her a role model or a valid spokesperson.

In fact the left needs to actually lead the parade to dump this loser. She hurts us every single time she sits at the keyboard. Edwards' campaign made a horrific mistake. And they should rightfully be criticized for that. Who the hell is vetting staffers over there?

But we do our causes great harm when we support people who can't even get facts straight and feel the overwhelming need to post @#$%*!! rants in place of logical, reasoned arguments.

* * * * * UPDATE 2/8/2007 11:00 PM * * * * *

John Edwards campaign announced this evening that it will not terminate or release the controversial bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. Edwards no doubt weighed the complaints and criticism from the right and especially from Catholic activist groups against the threatened reaction of the far left blogosphere.

First, the decision reflects badly on Edwards and on his campaign orgnization.

Second, it is a decision that will haunt Edwards throughout his candidacy. The stupid and vulgar writings of Marcotte and McEwan will be replayed throughout the campaign as if Edwards fully endorsed those statements.

Third, Edwards simply cannot write off the Catholic vote, a traditional Democrat stronghold.

From today's article in The New York Times:

In some of their online writings, Ms. Marcotte and Ms. McEwan used vulgar language to characterize religious conservatives and Roman Catholic teachings on birth control, homosexuality and the virgin birth.

On her personal blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, Ms. McEwan had referred to conservative Christians as “Christofascists.” On the Pandagon blog site, Ms. Marcotte had said that the Catholic Church’s prohibition on the use of birth control forced women to bear “more tithing Catholics.”

This week, William A. Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, had called for Mr. Edwards to dismiss the women. Stunned to learn that he did not, Mr. Donohue said in an interview Thursday, “The bloggers are no longer the issue. Edwards is the issue.”

Boy is Mr. Donohue right!

And here we have a PRESS RELEASE from the Catholic activist group Fidelis"

Fidelis President Joseph Cella commented: “We are shocked and appalled that John Edwards would stand by a campaign staff member who has viciously attacked Catholics and all Christians publicly on her personal blog. If any staffer had written similarly about gays, blacks, or Jews, there is no question Edwards would fire them immediately. Sadly, it appears that former Senator Edwards applies a different standard to attacks on Catholics.”

Cella also is spot on. If any remotely similar writings are ever uncovered by any Edwards staffer directed toward blacks, gays or Muslims, look for their immediate dismissal and public hanging with Edwards personally tightening the noose.

Did you know that Marcotte has consistently referred to Jesus as "Jeebus" in all her writings (one blogger counted 114 such references). Can you imagine Edwards rage if she have used a similar derogatory reference for Mohammad? Can you image the Muslim rage?

In summary I must tell you that this stupid, tone deaf pandering to the far left absolutely eliminates Edwards as a candidate anyone should support for President.

Both Marcotte and McEwan will be gone very soon, probably quietly resigning within the next few weeks, allowing both the embattled bloggers and Edwards to save face. And we have a perfectly clear picture of exactly the kind of President Edwards would make.






Not Your Mama said...

So only people who say what they want to say in some pre-approved fashion dictated by some arbitrary language police have any credibility?

That line of reasoning has worked out really well for a lot of minority and shall we say, not-so-priveleged and well-educated communities in our history now hasn't it? It doesn't wash.

That said, I agree that Edwards is one of the worst candidates we could elect, just not for the same reasons as you do.

I don't care if he hired them to campaign for him. I do care that he obviously did not think it through and decide beforehand whether or not he was comfortable with their views, instead opting to disavow them only after being attacked by a rightwing extremist, then back off yet again under pressure from the base. That would make Edwards: a weasel.

As for the lady bloggers, I don't follow their blog so I might agree or disagree with them on many points but it would not be based on their choice of adjectives. That would make me: dim & shallow beyond belief.

Bob Keller said...

"So only people who say what they want to say in some pre-approved fashion dictated by some arbitrary language police have any credibility?

Of course not. That would be blatantly stupid.

It's equally stupid to defend someone whose writings you admit you haven't read simply because they choose to use certain words.

I attacked the Edwards' blogging twims because of the content of their writings. They use colorful rants to hide the fact that their vessel is empty.

But make no mistake about it, I'm also no fan of hate speeech. I'm equally intolerant of homophobic and xenophobic rants directed at any group.

But, to paraphrase once again the famous quote by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, "While I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Your comment about Edwards' weasel approach to this problem is spot on. Everything about this episode proves he is unqualified to become President.

the Wizard......

Robin Edgar said...

Interestingly enough there are some very close parallels in principle between what you have posted here and the recent "experiment" I conducted in filing an unbecoming conduct complaint against a particularly offensive and obnoxious U*U
blogger who is a "Christian" U*U minister who blogs pseudonymously in a manner that reflects badly on *all* U*U clergy, or at least all U*U ministers serving "historic New England Unitarian Universalist congregation(s)". . . Rev. Victoria Weinstein's onine rants can be more than a little bit over the top and make a total mockery of the UUMA's guidelines for the conduct of ministry. To be honest I did not really expect the UUA to responsibly handle my unbecoming conduct complaint against Rev. Weinstein but I was hoping that they would surprise me by proving me wrong. Suffice to say that they didn't. . . Herewith my complete email correspondence with Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris, Executive Director of the UUA's department of Congregational Services, and Rev. Beth Miller, Executive Secretary of the UUA's Ministerial Fellowship Committee. UUA President Bill Sinkford was not only kept the loop with cc'd copies of most of my emails but was contacted directly as well. I am very confident that these email exchanges will show that the UUA effectively condoned Rev. Victoria Weinstein's unbecoming conduct and that, just as John Edwards bears ultimate responsibility for his own obnoxious bloggers scandal, top UUA officials including UUA President Bill Sinkford are effectively condoning the obnoxious unbecoming conduct of Rev. Victoria Weinstein that reflects very poorly on the U*U "religious community" as a whole.

Bob Keller said...

When did the rules change? Are we liberals no longer allowed to have principles?

I believe that if we condemn the hate speech of Coulter & Company we MUST also condemn the equally horrific hate speech of Marcotte and McEwan.

If we defend the right to free speech of Marcotte & McEwan, we must also defend the rights of Coulter & Limbaugh.

And this bullshit of "it's OK for Marcotte to practice hate speech" because somebody else did it first, is the worst of all.

Hell, it must now be OK to have genocide in Darfur because Pol Pot did it first.

Now that I think about it, that is probably the reason we don't stand up as one to demand justice in Darfur.

If we are not willing to criticize one of our own, how do we ever have the right to criticize one of our opponents?

the Wizard......

Robin Edgar said...

Hi Wizard,

Are you responding to my post here? If so I think that you misinterpreted it and are speaking at cross-purposes with me. I fully agree that U*Us have to be ready, willing and able to criticize their own if they want to have the moral authority to criticize their opponents. My post was about the well established fact that U*Us are extremely reluctant to criticize their own. This is particularly true of U*U clergy and UUA officials (many of whom are U*U clergy of course) who seem to have an Omerta-like code of silence when it comes to being openly critical of U*U clergy who are fully deserving of serious criticism.

:When did the rules change? Are we liberals no longer allowed to have principles?

Apparently not if one judges by the obviously unprincipled responses of U*U clergy and UUA officials, to say nothing of most lay U*Us. . . to what UUA President Bill Sinkford once rightly described as my "obviously deep concerns." Unfortunately I am still waiting for President Sinkford, other UUA officials and the congregattion of the Unitarian Church of Montreal to respond to my "obviously deep concerns" in a manner that lives up to the purported principles and purposes of U*Uism rather than flagrantly disregarding them and indeed wantonly violating these so-called "covenants" of the U*U community.

:I believe that if we condemn the hate speech of Coulter & Company we MUST also condemn the equally horrific hate speech of Marcotte and McEwan.

I agree 100% and would add that U*Us need to condemn what may be appropriately described as the "hate speech" of Rev. Ray Drennan and other hateful U*Us.

:If we defend the right to free speech of Marcotte & McEwan, we must also defend the rights of Coulter & Limbaugh.

Correct, but I long ago found that U*Us exercise very hypocritical double standards when it comes to free speech, to say nothing of other principles and ideals. . . U*Us go to extreme lengths to censor and suppress the legitimate criticism and dissent of those people who dare to expose and denounce U*U injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy yet tacitly condone and even actively endorse the obnoxious and deeply offensive "insulting and defamatory language" of intolerant and abusive U*U clergy.

:This bullshit of "it's OK for Marcotte to practice hate speech" because somebody else did it first, is the worst of all.

Well it is really quite ironic that I never referred to the obviously hateful words of Rev. Ray Drennan, Frank Greene, and other intolerant and abusive U*Us as "hate speech" until outrageously U*Us had the unmitigated gall to accuse me of "hate speech" and "hate crime" because I displayed their hateful words on my picket signs in the context of protesting against their anti-religious intolerance and bigotry. . .

Robin Edgar said...

Please insert the word 'hypocritical' between the word 'outrageously' and "corporate identity" acronym 'U*Us' above.

Bob Keller said...

Hey Robin,

Thanks for continuing to drop by and for your most recent, very informative, update on U*U outrage.

My comments above WERE NOT directed at you or your posts in any way. They simply got inserted after your reply. My comments were intended to be directed back to my original post.

Can I say (without offending you I hope) that I think you occasionally take these issues within the Unitarian Church both too personally and too seriously?

When I am attacked personally and directly (as I was by not your mama over in her blog), I tend to take it all with a grain of salt.

She called me a "snobbish, vanilla-puddin' eatin' idiot." It's hard to get more direct or more personal than that!

First of all, I much prefer chocolate! Let's get that straight.

Second, she is really bright and, generally, correct in both her position on, and analysis of, most issues.

This was just a mildly heated brush-up. And, even through she attacked me and my writing, she furthered the discussion of important issues of language and free speech and brought the matter to a larger audience.

I simply never, ever get mad (about this type of attack). If I got offended every time someone called me a name, I'd be in perpetual outrage.

I'll save my anger for really serious matters like the war in the Middle East. The occupation of Iraq. And the genocide in Darfur.

Again, please take no offense. This is just my opinion and my approach.

the Wizard.....

Robin Edgar said...

Hi Wiz,

I actually have a very thick skin. I am not the least bit offended by anything that you have said here and I really do not get offended very easily. In fact one usually has to go to great lengths to offend me such as falsely and maliciously accuse me of being "psychotic" and trying to start a "manipulative and secretive" cult of the "Solar Temple" variety. . . Unfortunately some intolerant and abusive fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" U*Us have gone to those great lengths necessary to offend me and rather too many other U*Us in positions of authority, including two UUA presidents, have effectively endorsed the deeply insulting and defamatory or otherwise harmful and damaging behaviour of intolerant and abusive U*Us. Labeling someone as "psychotic" is the 21st century equivalent of accusing someone of being "possessed" and the 'C' word is the modern equivalent of "coven". I have been subjected to an out and out witch-hunt by intolerant and abusive "Humanist" U*Us and that UUA has not only turned a blind eye and deaf ear to that witch-hunt but has effectively endorsed it by asserting that Rev. Ray Drennan's intolerant and abusive behaviour is "within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership". . .

My most recent "experiment" in filing an unbecoming conduct complaint with the UUA against the pseudonymous U*U blogger Peacebang who is otherwise known as Rev. Victoria Weinstein was done primarily to determine if there had been any improvement in the UUA's handling of clergy misconduct complaints. Quite evidently nothing has changed. . . at least insofar as responsibly dealing with unbecoming conduct involving insulting and defamatory attacks on people by U*U clergy in a manner that lives up to the U*U principle of justice, equity and compassion in human relations. Au contraire, outrageously hypocritical U*U "religious leaders" at 25 Beacon Street in Boston and at the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal continue to make a total mockery of U*U principles in their rather inhuman human relations with me. Likewise the UUA allows all kinds of other internal U*U injustices and abuses to go unredressed, including clegy sexual misconduct committed by U*U ministers that has yet to be responsibly acknowledged and properly redressed.

Vigilante said...

Thanks for the product placement here, Wizard. Like N.Y. Mama, I don't have a dog in this fight over these two bloggers. I don't think it is by accident that I am unfamiliar with their work. They should have used better sense and changed their names or used their real ones if they decided to work for a candidate. I'm not saying the content or substance of their writing was erroneous. Far from it. I'm just saying that no candidate w3ants his staff to be the issue and no candidate wants to look for more fights to fight.